Men's Basketball vs Boston College

Hokies' Jalen Cone (15) stands his ground against Eagles' Steffon Mitchell (41), Feb. 8, 2020.

Virginia Tech fell to 14-10 (5-8 ACC) following its 77-73 loss to Boston College, which improved to 12-12 (6-7 ACC). The Hokies were led by Landers Nolley, who scored 29 points and added 11 rebounds in the loss. This marks the second time the Hokies have lost to Boston College in the last month following their defeat to the Eagles back on Jan. 27. 

With the loss, Tech extended its losing streak to five games. Head coach Mike Young discussed the team’s mindset amid this losing streak after the game.

“I think we’re fine. It’s how you deal with it,” Young said. “We are going to deal with it by continuing to compete, continuing to get better.”

The game opened up on a Landers Nolley block, which he quickly followed up with a nice drive and layup to get the Hokies on the scoreboard early. Nahiem Alleyne then hit a tough and-one bucket inside to put the Hokies up 5-0.

After going down 8-7, Virginia Tech rattled off a 13-0 run that featured two 3-pointers in a row by Alleyne, as well as one from Isaiah Wilkins to put the Hokies up 20-8 on the Eagles. 

Virginia Tech’s defense was great to start the game as it forced turnovers and had multiple blocks at the rim. Additionally, the guards were doing a great job of stopping dribble penetration and staying in front of Boston College’s perimeter players.

Jalen Cone provided a great spark off the bench as he scored six points on 3-4 shooting, including an offensive rebound and put back followed by a tough eurostep and floater to put the Hokies on top 24-15. 

After going up 31-21 on a Bede jumper, the Hokies ran into a dry spell on offense while also allowing Boston College to hit two 3-pointers. The Eagles were able to go on an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 31-29.

The Hokies finally ended their cold spell when Nolley hit a mid-range jumper. Nolley heated up to close the first half, scoring seven points in the last two minutes, including one 3-pointer. Despite this, however, Virginia Tech clinged to a five point lead as they went into the locker rooms leading 38-33. 

After the game, Alleyne was asked where he thought things went wrong in the first half after giving up a 14-point lead.

“They were just getting to the rim,” Alleyne said. “Our on-ball defense was great. I think we just fouled them a lot and they just got to the line and started knocking down their free throws.”

In the first half, the Hokies shot 53.3% from the floor and made four of their 11 3-point attempts. Nolley led the team in scoring with 12 points on an efficient five for eight shooting. Tech was also able to hold Boston College to just 44.4% from the floor while forcing eight turnovers.

After a slow start to open the second half that saw Boston College cut Tech’s lead to just one point at 40-39, the Hokies were able to go on a quick 5-0 run to push the lead back up to six points. 

This was short lived, however, as the Eagles immediately went on a 12-0 run to go up 51-45. This run featured three 3-pointers and some strong defense by Boston College. Virginia Tech’s offense looked out of sorts during this run and players struggled with handling the ball, as they turned it over multiple times. 

This run finally ended when Nolley hit two buckets in a row to bring Tech back to within two points. Following a turnover by Bede, Hunter Cattoor had a great steal and pass to Nolley for the emphatic two-handed slam to bring Tech to within three points at 56-53. This was followed by a P.J. Horne tip-in and a Nolley coast-to-coast layup to give Tech the lead at 57-56. 

With just under a minute to go in regulation, Boston College took a 66-62 lead after hitting a free throw to make it a two possession game. Alleyne was able to hit an acrobatic layup with 40.2 seconds to go, but Tech could not keep the Eagles off the free throw line. 

With 29.3 seconds left in regulation, Boston College missed the front end of a one-and-one and Alleyne was able to drive inside and draw a foul with 4.4 seconds left. He calmly hit both free throws to tie the game at 66 apiece; after stopping a last second shot by Derryck Thornton, the game headed into overtime. 

Alleyne was asked after the game if he felt much pressure when he tied the game at the free throw line at the end of regulation.

“No, I’ve done it before in high school,” Alleyne said. “It doesn’t affect me.”

Overtime opened up with a Bede 3-pointer to put the Hokies up 69-66. However, Tech was plagued by fouls and continued sending the Eagles to the free throw line. After Alleyne fouled out with under a minute to go, Steffon Mitchell hit one of two free throws to tie the game. Mitchell followed that up by hitting Boston College’s lone field goal in overtime on a clutch layup with 11.6 seconds to go. Nolley missed a 3-pointer, and Mitchell was able to seal the game with two seconds left and Boston College won 77-73.

For the game, Boston College shot 26 free throws compared to just 11 free throw attempts by the Hokies. This included going nine of 10 from the line in overtime. 

Tech struggled on offense in the second half and overtime when Boston College switched to a zone. Coach Young talked about how this changed their offense.

“It’s more specific; it’s not as free-flowing at times,” Young said. “We had some actions, more so in the first half than we had in the second.”

Virginia Tech is now 10-4 at home on the season. The Hokies will play host to Pitt at Cassell Coliseum next Saturday, Feb. 15 at 6 p.m.

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